30 August 2011

Guest Post - A Creative Journey through PND

Today, we bring to you the first of a series of Guest posts from members of New Zealand Handmade. 

Prue of JAKOnappies shares with us her very personal journey of Post Natal Depression and how a creative venture helped in her recovery...

The public "official" story of JAKOnappies and More birth can be found on our homepage of our website. My little business was accidently conceived when I had my second child and wanted to give Modern Cloth Nappies a go. I was inhibited by the set up costs, and the few I bought didn't fit right, leaked or were difficult to do up. So what does a DIY NZ Mum do? She learns to make her own!

There was another side to the beginning of JAKOnappies and More. My second son Kodi arrived when Jakeb was 4 years old. He was a tried for, treasured addition - but late in my pregnancy something didn't feel right. I hadn't bonded to this baby growing and kicking inside of me. With Jakeb I already felt that strong bond, and couldn't understand why. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight this may have been an important warning sign that was missed.

Kodi's birth will remain one of my most magical moments in my life. Kodi was born in his sack still, in a calm, relaxed, peaceful water birth. 4 1/2 years later I would still say his birth was magical and an amazing experience. All my worries of not being bonded to this baby evaporated the second I held him, I was completely utterly besotted with this beautiful baby boy I had just birthed into this world. I had the primal surge of love, that I was scared wasn't going to happen.

As the days went on something shifted in my mind. I can't tell you what switched the switch on, I wish I could so it was turned off, but suddenly I was in the midst of postnatal depression. My own version of this was a form of OCD where I was obsessed something was going to happen to my baby. I had to be there all the time, checking on him when he was asleep, checking on him when I should of been asleep. I managed to fall through the cracks when I spoke to my GP about this as they asked the standard questionnaire of "do you want to harm your baby?." No. "Do you want to harm yourself?" No. So my GP at the time said it was normal to worry about your new baby, and that all I needed was some sleep.

To cut a long story short the straw that broke the camels back, was one night I was quite manic and was demanding that my husband go out to Bunnings (was 11pm at night it wouldn't of been open anyway) and get a generator. He couldn't understand why in the earth I wanted to do this. I needed it because we could have a power cut at night then his alarm wouldn't work and I wouldn't know he was dead. Awful awful thoughts but that is where I was. I thought he was being highly unreasonable as he wouldn't go and get it. This was the night I began to seek help.

My husband attended the GP's with me and we began the long slow process of getting better. Unfortunately I am not someone that responds well to medications, so we had to do the long talk-therapy, and cognitive behaviour therapy routes.

Something I needed to do was to find me again, Prue had become this obsessive, compulsive person I didn't recognize, that was solely revolving around her children. There is nothing wrong with your children being your life, but it wasn't a healthy way I was doing it. Something I had considered was saving us money, down on one wage again. MCN's seemed the answer, but we didn't have the money for the start ups. So I got a DIY kit, my mother in laws sewing machine and made Kodi his first three. Didn't like the pattern and continued to edit this pattern over time.

I can't tell you the day it happened but I realised I was happy concentrating on this sewing. There was something methodical and soothing about creating these things, and the reward of looking at it on Kodi knowing I had made that for him. Soon I had a few friends asking to make them some and well the rest is history.

Through the help of my wonderful counsellor, the support and love of my family, and through the out source of JAKOnappies and More 3 1/2 years after Kodi's birth, pregnant with Nikola I was able to wave goodbye to 'OCD Prue'. The creative outlet, the sense of achievement when a pattern in my head works, seeing the creation on others babies, and a sense of contributing again have all helped me get there.

I am pleased to say we have just celebrated Nikola's first birthday, and I had no reoccurrence of my OCD/PND.

So thank you to all my loyal, and supportive customers that have without knowing it supported me through my journey.

A little more about JAKOnappies...

The name JAKOnappies and more come from my two gorgeous son's names - Jakeb and Kodi - my two unofficial product testers! We have since added another product tester to our family - my beautiful daughter Nikola in August last year. As our website will reflect, she has made me stray to the "pink side."

JAKOnappies and More has grown from these very simple beginnings to now having a large range of many different products from MCNs to clothing to toys and MORE!! We take pride in stocking many other products, normally all made/sourced from a NZsupplier or manufacturers. (We will state on items not handmade, or sourced from somewhere other than NZ). We particularly support WAHP (work-at-home-parents) and their products.

A recent addition to our products is my gaining the cottage license for the Darncat Jesse Junior Top pattern. This is a versatile pattern of tops and dresses with or without hoods. We have also starting stocking the amazing Teeny Tiny Casting range including their stunning crystal clear kits.


  1. Thanks for sharing your personal journey Prue,

    I knew a Mother who had PND and was able to send her and her Babe much needed light. It sure helped them, and me.

    Cheers Marie

  2. So pleased that you found your creative 'therapy'. Thank you for sharing :)

  3. What a well-told story, Prue. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. :)


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